Generator Amsterdam – A ‘game changer’ in hospitality
Geared to bringing design and culture to the budget travel market by delivering safe and well situated accommodation with fresh and inspired interiors, Generator has launched its latest venue, in Amsterdam. (Amsterdam isn’t actually the latest Generator – Rome and Stockholm have since opened in 2016.)
The concept encourages guests travelling across Europe to stay at multiple Generators, bolstering their experience of each city with social engagement that is fostered by Generator’s lively communal areas.
The concept has become recognised as a game-changer in the hospitality industry, and celebrated as an innovative design concept.
Designed by DesignAgency – Generator’s global design partner – the new concept 168-bedroom 6,995 sq m Generator Amsterdam opened in March 2016.
Anwar Mekhayech, founding partner of DesignAgency said: “Generator is an ‘urban design-led’ hostel concept that we helped develop. With each new addition to the Generator portfolio we have created an intriguing design.
“There are now 12 locations, and the goal is that each new one should be even better than the last.
“With Generator, our vision was to create a memorable design journey for guests travelling through Europe and staying at multiple Generators in different cities.
“The client loves Generator Amsterdam – it’s their new flagship for the brand, complete with Nescio Cafe and the basement nightclub Oosterbar. Guests love the rooms, referencing them to ‘treehouse” rooms!
“Generator Amsterdam is one of the largest ones to date and the project involved a total transformation of a 100 year old building, as well as its adaptive reuse and change of use – which made it a very exciting and challenging scheme.
“In Amsterdam, we knew that we wanted to create something worthy of the city with Dutch design as a prominent feature – which has always been quirky and fun. Our vision was to play on the heritage of the building, as well as to collaborate as much as possible with local artists, designers and build alliances with local businesses.
“We viewed each design element as a playful intervention in the building. A lot of the inspiration was based on spending time in Amsterdam and seeing what was happening in the city. The east end of Amsterdam has really blossomed as a creative hub with lots of great new concepts and places, so it was the perfect home for Generator. Staying true to the DNA of the brand, the industrial and heritage nature of the building was revived and highlighted.
“The history of the building guided a lot of the decisions and permissions. We had a great architect, IDEA Ontwerp, who was able to convince the planning authority that the heritage nature of the building could be maintained while adding two new glass levels to the upper storeys, allowing us to have more rooms.
“The building’s auditorium and library were sanctioned off as prime heritage rooms, as was the exterior, so we had to present all our ideas for approval.
“The building was a great shell for the common areas that we wanted to create. The former auditorium and library – which were deemed both monumental and historical – made for some really unique spaces.
“We were able to add an amazing structural mezzanine that connects these spaces and that works very well. The library was left almost completely as original with a few fun additions. The original handrail and green railings in the main two stairwells are my favourite.”
Each guest room is accented by a Studio Job wallpaper feature wall. Premium private rooms feature blanket designs by local textile designer Mae Engelgeer, and grey and brass Anglepoise bedside lamps warm up the custom headboards. Bunk rooms have custom Generator bunks which include lighting and USB outlets. RIGG Ltd supplied stools.
All of the significant spaces were preserved and overlaid with contemporary twists. The interior confidently mixes the history and charm of the building with Dutch references from folk culture and iconic design, as well as custom contemporary art, and the playful lighting that is synonymous with the Generator brand.
Anwar Mekhayech said: “Partnerships with local businesses such as coffee vendor Stooker Roasting Company and Vanmoof Bicycles strengthened the project and more successfully integrated it into its surroundings, while collaborations with various Dutch artists and designers also helped to drive the project to new creative heights.
“Amsterdam is probably my favourite Generator to date. I think it’s a mature project that really balances a lot of elements that make for a great hotel and an even more unique hostel.
“Artistically it is very expressive and the intervention of the concept into the old building works perfectly for the Generator brand, and it also really addresses the urban context of the property’s city side, and the true Dutch nature of its park side.
“We are also very proud of the many artistic collaborations and business partnerships that we developed to make Generator Amsterdam. This layering of participants makes for a richer project that is an authentic part of the community and the city.”